Modeling Volcanic Tsunami Hazards

Ignacio Sepulveda wearing a collard shirt smiling

Dr. Ignacio Sepulveda
Assistant Professor – San Diego State University
Department of Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering

Wednesday, September 21, 2022
1 pm – CSL 422
watch Dr. Sepulveda’s talk


The 2022 Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai Volcano eruption triggered a tsunami which was
recorded globally. While the highest tsunami crest-to-trough heights, up to 3 meters,
were only recorded within the Pacific coastlines, heights up to 1 meter could be also
observed in remote locations such as Ghana and Portugal. The tsunami also caused
unfortunate cascading effects, such as an oil spill in Peru. The high waves and far-
reaching character of the 2022 tsunami reopened the question about the destructive
potential of volcanic tsunami hazards.

We have investigated the signature of the 2022 tsunami around the globe. This summer, we also
developed new numerical tools to simulate the special forcing mechanisms of volcanic
sources. The tsunami records and numerical experiments allow us to identify the
dominant mechanisms as well as the most relevant geophysical properties defining the
tsunami response. These studies aim to improve volcanic tsunami hazard assessment
approaches and to improve the quantification of their uncertainties.